Wednesday, 23 October 2013

It's Not Complicated: You're Damned If You Excuse This

Dawn Neesom, Editor of the U.K. Daily Star,who is responsible for this headline. Dawn became Editor in 2003 when she lost her job  wiping Rupert Murdoch's saggy auld bum. Neesum previously worked at The Sun
This picture was taken while she was in the middle of a particularly vigorous wipe. 

There is no defending what happened here in Ireland over the past couple of days. The decision by the Health Services Executive and Gardaí to seize two Roma children from their families in separate incidents in Tallaght and Athlone is racism of the most virulent, medieval variety. Just take a look at this. In both cases DNA tests were carried out on the children who were deemed too blonde to definitely be Roma. In both cases the DNA tests have proved that the children's parents are indeed their parents. 

The "you're damned if you act [take a child into care on foot of a complaint] and damned if you don't." line which some silly types, on social media and elsewhere, are taking in relation to this is just the whittering of apologists. Next thing they'll be saying Irish Water has no choice but to check to make sure the Jews aren't actually poisoning wells because, I mean, some tosspot from Athlone has written in saying they have and some backwoods woman from Granard typed "you're damned if you act and damned if you don't!!!!!!!!!!" on Facebook. Go in fear of clichés and exclamation marks. Fascists always love them. 

There is a simple question you can ask yourself if you're in any doubt about this: if a young lady from one of Ireland's more salubrious addresses, such as Taylor's Hill or Shrewsbury Road, had - following a trip to find herself somewhere out foreign - popped out a child whose complexion was noticeably on the brown side, is there the slightest chance that the Health Services Executive and Gardaí would have moved to seize said child, for DNA testing, on foot of a complaint from some sinister fool who probably reads the Irish Daily Shtar? The answer to that would be no, Dougal, no.

It's clear that a conspiracy theory to the effect that Madeleine McCann was kidnapped by gypsies has gone about the place like wildfire over the past week or so. If she had been, do you really think there's the slightest possibility that police wouldn't have found her by now? Again, the answer there would be no, Dougal, no. 
Conspiracy theories are these days mostly associated with fellas with holey wooly jumpers and mad starey eyes going on about lizards and Dick Cheney and fluoride in the water. But this week the Irish State joined the David Icke/Jim Corr party of people who believe things not because there's any real evidence but rather because some poisonous eejit said it. 

And now we take a break from this tirade for a poem

Friday, 18 October 2013

Me at Brick Lane 1993

I discovered this photo last night. It's the poster for a documentary, co-directed (apparently last year) by Phil Maxwell and Hazuan Hashim, about the anti-fascist movement in London's East End.  

In 1936 Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts, including their Galway born Deputy Leader, William Joyce, tried to march through the predominantly Jewish Cable Street. They were stopped

In September 1993, following the election the previous Thursday of a British National Party (BNP) Councillor for the Isle of Dogs ward in a by-election, the fascists were prevented from selling their newspapers or distributing their leaflets at Brick Lane the following Sunday. The combined forces of the Left and members of the local Asian community turned up early that morning and occupied the BNP paper sellers' usual pitch. The fascists turned up later and stood across the road. Pretty soon though, action was taken to physically remove them. 

If you look closely, you can see me in the crowd, if not fighting fascism in the literal sense, then at least watching others put a few of its most fanatical and violent British supporters on the pavement. It was a great day.
I realise that some liberals will be offended by my nostalgia for the way the fascists were dealt with that Sunday. To them I offer no apologies at all, but these closing lines from my poem The Eternal Peace Activist:

                 When a four foot boy clad in black
                 bomber jacket shoved a lit kerosene rag,
                 through my neighbour’s letterbox,
                 I didn’t take the easy way out
                 and familiarize his cranium
                 with the pavement.

                 Now, he’s six foot eight
                 and has a gang who go around with him

Short essay 'Finding Contemporary Ireland In Irish Poetry' published on Magma Poetry blog

A short piece I was commissioned to write for the blog of Magma, the London based poetry magazine, has just been published. It's titled Finding Contemporary Ireland In Irish Poetry.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Labour Market Activation Measures

Following the announcement of the cut in Job Seekers Allowance for new applicants under twenty six years of age, the Department of Social Protection in conjunction with FÁS has announced a range of measures to enable unemployed young people who do not enjoy the financial support of their families to come up with ways of supplementing their reduced income.

During the next week FÁS will roll out schemes to train Job Seekers under the age of twenty six as sex workers and drug dealers.
Well known Buddhist, Richard Gere, becoming seperated from his shirt in a film about a young lad who makes a few quid servicing ladies of a certain vintage and class. Other fellas would have sat around complaining; he got up off his arse, or sometimes got on it, and did something.
A job seeker under the age of twenty six ready to engage in free enterprise with a sweaty, fat fella from up the country.
Another job seeker under the age of twenty six; he's the one without the shirt.
And yet another young Irish person, proving that Ruari Quinn is right when he says that Government doesn't create jobs and that the consumer is always right. 

FÁS is now looking for tutors to assist in this scheme. If interested send your CV to 
Baldoyle Industrial Estate, 
Dublin 13

For further details Tel: +353 (0)1 8167400 

Picture of Eamonn Gilmore and Labour Chief Whip, Emmett Stagg who, unlike Mrs Thatcher, are both still alive.
A poem dedicated to Mick Wallace T.D. who, when speaking on this issue in the Dáil yesterday, quoted Lou Reed. My poem mentions one particular sex worker. I don't have any about drug dealers. Sorry.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Galway City Council Arts Grants: Decision Deferred

If you didn't get your application in on time, then you didn't get your application in on time. End of story. Or it should be. Councillors should not do the bidding of people who aren't organised enough to get their forms filled out on time and submitted on time. 

My mother died on May 31st 2011; her body was removed from the house on June 1st. I had the Over The Edge Galway City Council arts grant filled out the previous week and ready to go, though the deadline was a couple of weeks away. I knew Mom was dying and that I needed to have the form filled out before that happened because, otherwise, it mightn't get done. I watched the hearse take Mom around the Seamus Quirke Road roundabout one last time on Wednesday, June 1st 2011 and then picked up our completed application form and walked to City Hall to deliver it to the Arts Office. Despite the pressure we were under we still got it in more than a week before the deadline.

If you didn't get you application in on time this year, the sympathy I have for you is very, very small. And Councillors shouldn't be pandering to you by putting back the decision on this year's Arts Grants, just because they're afraid you might write whiney auld letters to the local newspapers. 

No one should get an Arts Grant, or more of a grant, because they make representations to Councillors and follow those representations up by writing mad letters to the City Tribune. There is a silent majority out here and any member of Galway City Council who panders to wasters and whiners won't get so much as a number 12 from me next year. 

Here is a relevant poem.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Stories You Would Not Find In 'Ireland's Own' - Seamus Scanlon & Dave Lordan

My review of the short fiction collections, As Close As You'll Ever Be by Seamus Scanlon & First Book Of Frags by Dave Lordan is in today's Galway Advertiser. Below are a couple of people I make mention of in the review.
An Aryan maiden of the type rarely seen around Mervue. 
The Marquis de Sade

I have a poem in the upcoming issue of Crannóg

I'm delighted to have a poem in issue 34 of the excellent Galway-based literary magazine, Crannóg, which is launched on Friday October 25th at 6.30PM in The Crane Bar, here in Galway. 

I'll be going along to read my poem.